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Issues and Challenges Associated With Developing Fair, Equitable Health Policy
November 28, 2016

Issues and Challenges Associated With Developing Fair, Equitable Health Policy

A well-functioning healthcare system must be coordinated, efficient, cost-effective, and goal-oriented. Unfortunately, these words donít summarize healthcare services in the United States.
Gender. Gendered perspectives continue to dominate healthcare and healthcare delivery. Non-elderly men are predominantly uninsured compare to non-elderly women. Among those individuals with insurance, men are more likely to have employer-based coverage. On the other hand, women are more likely to have public coverage because of their lower average income.3
Geography. Unfortunately, geographical variations in the uninsured rate exists in the US. People who live in the rural areas have lower income and higher healthcare needs, but a limited access to healthcare facilities due to shortage of doctors and an uneven distribution of the current workforce.3 A shortage of doctors explains some of the wait times in different states and to rectify the situation, more doctors need to be trained.
Health Care System in Canada
Canada relies on public health insurance system, which is a social program that emphasizes access to healthcare services on the basis of medical needs. Since the healthcare system is mainly funded by public taxations, it basically redistributes the wealth from the rich to the poor, from the well to the sick, and it works very well in equalizing access to healthcare services.3 The Canadian system ensures that all residents have reasonable access to medically necessary services and enhances long-term viability of the healthcare system. It alleviates health adversity for everyone and facilitates the implementation of an excellent service in relation to the complex care issues of the patient population. Canadians have universal access to healthcare services, the latest technology, and highly skilled healthcare professionals. The Canadian healthcare system is based on equity, fairness, and solidarity and provides affordable, accessible, and high quality care. The 5 principles of healthcare in Canada are public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, accessibility, and portability.7
Addressing Social Determinants
There is a need for action against injustices and inequalities in America’s healthcare system. It is essential to address social determinants of health in order to challenge inequality and disparities to ensure better health for all. It is important to create social justice that promotes equity, diversity, and professionalism among all participants in the society. People with different race, gender, age, disability status, socioeconomic status, and geographic location deserve to be treated with dignity and achieve health equity. It is imperative to respect the beliefs and traditions of various ethnical and cultural group regardless of their origin.
Leaders should create an environment in which members of different groups feel safe to express and discuss their identity. They need to learn from successes abroad and focus their policy decisions on what they can do to improve the quality of what we pay for. The US needs to achieve universal coverage for all its citizens.
1. Bodenheimer T, Grumbach K. (2012). Understanding health policy: A clinical approach (6th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Medical.
2. Sherrill W, Crew L, Mayo R, Mayo W, Rogers B, Haynes D. (2005). Educational and health services innovation to improve care for rural Hispanic communities in the US. Education for Health: Change in Learning & Practice (Taylor & Francis Ltd), 18(3), 356-367.
3. Teitelbaum JB, Wilensky SE. (2013). Essentials of health policy and law (2nd ed.). Boston, Mass: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
4. Spector, RE. (2013). Cultural diversity in health and illness. (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
5. Asian American Health Initiative. (2005). Together to build a healthy community. Retrieved from
6. Artiga, S. (2013). Health coverage by race and ethnicity: The potential impact of the affordable care act. Retrieved from
7. Romanow, R. J. (2002). Building on values the future of health care in Canada. Retrieved from

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